Aitch’s Dogs

Aitch TC (2)

TC was her first dog, and she was Aitch’s favourite. She arrived while we were still living in our flat in Marriott road. She was a flat dog for a month or two and couldn’t believe the wide open spaces of our first suburban home.

Then Matt (because he wasn’t glossy when he arrived) came along and HE was definitely her favourite. Big time. She wept when he died, killed on the M13 highway one night. Bogart tried his best and she loved him too, but Matt was a hard act to follow, he was soppy and used to bring her dried leaves in his mouth as a gift! We buried Matt near the river at 7 River Drive.

Bogart River Dr (3)

Bogart (Trish’s maiden name was Humphrey) was third. He had a tail. Docking tails had been stopped – at last! What’s a dog without a tail? Shame, man!! She loved old Bogie. He was killed on the N3. Buried at River Drive.

And then came Bella! Bellisimo!

All the while, TC was still there, still the boss; wondering why we kept getting new tiny black nuisances which grew up to be bigger than her.

Now, make no mistake, Bella became Aitch’s all-time favourite. She loved Matt next best and Bogart too. Also Shadow and Sambucca in later years. And TC all along. But Bella!? She and Bella the Brak won the top prize at dog training. Her friend who won second prize with her pedigree German Shepherd turned to Trish when Bella won the last round and said “You know, Bella would fly if you asked her to!”

– Canine Academy Winners!! –
Family 2004 Frame 2
– Houdini the blonde pushy – Bella polite –

TC died of old age at River Drive, where we buried her on the banks of the Mkombaan river near the paperbark Commiphora, near Matt and Bogie. (Note to new owners: Don’t go digging too much in 7 River Drive!).

Yes, Bella you WERE her favourite, but then kids arrived and took over. And then Aitch rescued Houdini from euthenasia and look how he is pushing in while you wait politely as ever for your turn!

– Houdini the blonde –

Houdini escaped once too often, never to be seen again. Which is how we got him to start with: A friendly dog that no-one knew who he belonged to was given to Aitch by a vet.

So when we moved to Elston Place, Bella AT LAST had the family to herself. Didn’t last long: Aitch decided Bella ‘needed company’ and told me “Bella is lonely, I want to get her a puppy.” “Absolutely not!” I decreed, laying down the law as the boss of the house. “No more puppies!”

So she got two. Enter Shadow and Sambucca:

Sambucca was in danger of becoming “Sweetie” (Jessie’s choice of name!) so we sent out an SOS for a name for a pitch black dog. Terry Brauer came up with Black Sambucca – just right!

Bella died at 17yrs old, about a year before Aitch died. Aitch was right there with her when she died. We buried her in the garden at 10 Elston Place. Only Sambucca outlived Aitch.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Bella Got Old

Bella became Aitch’s most beloved dog of all, eclipsing TC the Original and even Matt the Beloved. It was a tall order to take Matt’s place in Aitch’s heart but Bella did it by following her like a shadow, paying attention, winning her obedience classes – and by sheer longevity.

bella-old

She reached the ripe old age of seventeen years and died just before Aitch. She’s buried at 10 Elston Place; whereas TC, Matt and Bogart are all buried at 7 River Drive.

Here TC is not happy with this newfound nuisance! Not another black puppy that’s going to end up bigger than me! The third one!

tc-bella
Aitch with TC & Bella; She sure loved her hounds (especially Bella, hey TC!)

In her final obedience trial at Canine Academy, she and Aitch got into the finals with a friend and her pedigree Alsatian. They were neck and neck until the time they had to do “go away” things (as opposed to “come here” things). Bella went as told; found what she had to; waited there until asked, then brought it to Aitch. Meantime the Alsatian stumbled a bit at that task. In congratulating her, her friend turned to Aitch and said, “If you asked Bella to fly, she would!”

Here’s Aitch with Bella facepaint, and both disguised as fairies, with haloes and wings:

– Bella’s main goal in life was to please this woman – Aitch shoulda stuck out her tongue and they’da been twins! –

~~~oo0oo~~~

TC the Original

First puppy. That was TC whose name didn’t signify much but we couldn’t think of another and settled on TC which teasingly was for “Terrible Canine” or “Terrific Canine”. Maybe the character from the TV show Magnum P.I influenced the name too. She was born on Melrose Farm of Mouse the Jack Russell by that he-man and character Stan the dark Staffie and was a gift from Dave and Goldie Hill, new parents of Tatum at the time. This was December 1988.

Stan with Goldie; Mouse with Tatum:

Goldie with TC's sire & dam - Stan the Staffie & Mouse the Jack Russell

 

Hills, Melrose Mouse Tatum

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Dogs aren't allowed on the bed at 7 River Drive!
– dogs aren’t allowed on the bed at 7 River Drive – much . .

TC with her siblings before weaning:

Puppies 1988 Farm.jpg

We still lived in a flat but were moving into a house soon. Flat life suited TC:

dogs-river-dr-tc
– Top Dog surveys her domain –

 

 

But so did the great outdoors:

matt-tc-river-dr-6

And even though three younger new arrivals outgrew her . . .

 

She outlasted two of them and remained Top Dog:

 


Her big friend and sparring partner was Tess the bull terrier from next door. Great mates they were, but occasionally when we near they’d go at each other with much snarling and hound-dog insults.

river-drive-ca1992-8

Once I held Tess high overhead with TC attached to her leg in a firm bite, both growling furiously, then dumped them in the deep end of the pool before they would quit their nonsense!

TC lived to fifteen, outliving Matt and Bogart. She is buried at 7 River Drive Westville on the banks of the Mkombaan river under a kanniedood tree, the paperbark commiphora (was Commiphora harveyi). She just got old and tired and slower and thin, and died quietly in her basket one evening.

~~~oo0oo~~~